I was reading the Fall issue of Massage Therapy Journal recently when I came upon an article discussing the most common injuries that massage therapist see in athletes. Eagerly reading away, I was surprised by the naming of an injury which I too find in some of my clients, many of them being cyclists. It is called Tight Ass Syndrome (TAS), which describes the injury perfectly.
The massage therapists interviewed for this article say that they found TSA in many of their cyclist clients. One saying of the cause “….follows an exceptionally hard effort, as in a time trial, where one pushes big gears at close in maximum for an extended period.” Basically I’ve found, that if you are gong to push yourself on your bike, your glutes are going to get tight.
Stretching your glutes on a regular basis is key to avoid excessive tightness of the glutes. One great stretch invloves: lying on your back, bring one knee up and across your chest to opposite shoulder. Massage is also great for loosening up those tight glutes. Self-massage can be done with a Myo-Release Ball – they have these at Peak Performance or a tennis ball, to get deeper.
I have found that tight glutes over time can lead to a tight low back. People tend to come in for a massage only when their back starts to bother them. But if caught before the low back is involved, the tight glutes are much easier to release. So best to come in before you are in severe pain.
Obviously, cyclist are not the only ones with the tendency to get “tight asses”. So pay attention to your glutes even if you don’t cycle. Stretching and self-massage of the glutes can go a long way to preventing TSA or a painful low back.
If you have any questions regarding the use of the tennis ball (or Myo-release ball) or other stretches that help to loosen your glutes, feel free to contact me.
And for those of you who ride – enjoy getting out there on your bike. Falling cycling can be a great way to get out and see the fall colors….as long as the wind and rain are not too relentless.